tday’s Life Is Like A Box Of Records is scribed by Emu Bands member and So Many Animal Calls manager Toni Malyn.
Van Morrison - Bright Side of the Road
One of the earliest memories I have is from around 1995/96 – I was lying on the chesterfield couch, probably pissing my pants or whatever it is 3 year olds are supposed to do. My Dad placed these headphones over my ears and clicked play on his Walkman cassette player. Van Morrison’s ‘Bright Side of the Road’ was playing, and it blew my wee mind. Van is indeed the man and has an amazing voice. This song still cheers me up to no end whenever I’m feeling particularly blue. I can remember my parents dancing along the hallway together to this, it makes me smile every time I think about it.
Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al
I first heard this song in ‘Parenthood’. You know, that film where Steve Martin think’s he’s being a terrible Da’, so dresses up as a Cowboy to make up for it. I’m not sure what I love about this song so much, the brass, baritone harmonies, gated drums or slap bass? This is probably the only song which, regardless of the time of night, or how drunk I am, will get me on the dance floor, taps aff. What is not to love?
Tom Petty – Free Fallin’
I’m not sure where to begin with this. This tune soundtracked me getting my jam roll for the first time. I remember getting up off the bed when I saw the ‘Full Moon Fever’ vinyl lying on the floor and placing it on the turntable with all the grace of a bull in a china shop. I figured a bit of background music would’ve been good. When Free Fallin’ started playing I started giggling – it was like that scene from The Commitments where Joey “The Lips” Fagan seduces Bernie with the Theme from Shaft, except this wasn’t Dublin, it was Rutherglen, I never had a moustache, and I definitely wasn’t as good a catholic as him.
Neu! – Für Immer
This is 11 minutes long and only has 1 chord, but it’s easily one of the best tunes I’ve ever heard.
One of my lecturers at Uni overheard me playing guitar one afternoon in the basement studios. He popped his head through the door and asked if I was a fan. I had no idea what he was on about. He brought the CD in for me the next day. The album, NEU! 2 was like nothing I’d ever heard before. It really introduced me to the world of Krautrock, and the drones and punching rhythms in this particular track send me into a bit of a trance. Listen to this through headphones, shut your eyes, and imagine you’re kicking about West Germany in the 70s. It’s class.
Funeral for a Friend – Juneau
I LOVE FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND. We all went through an Emo phase, right? I don’t think it’s a phase for me. I haven’t stopped listening to this band since I first watched the video for Roses for the Dead on Scuzz years ago. I ended up getting the chance to interview them when they last played QMU. I was sitting on their tour bus asking Matt questions, trying not to gush over him. Just as I was leaving he was talking about how much he hated guys that colour their hair. Thank fuck I had a hood covering my blue fringe at the time. Gutted.
Motion City Soundtrack – The Future Freaks Me Out
Like FFAF, another band most people expect you to leave behind when you leave high school. Motion City Soundtrack combine my love of songs about depression and Moog synths. Justin Pierre has one of the best voices going. This was the first song I heard from them on an Epitaph Records sampler. Remember sampler CDs?
The War On Drugs – Under The Pressure
I started listening to this record in France last summer. Chris Beltran and I went over with a group of students to help co-ordinate a music exchange thing. What I thought was going to be a week of stress and speaking very slowly, ended up being a week of eating fucking loads of kebabs, swimming in the mediterranean, and fraternising with some cool French and German guys & girls. It was a perfect end to my last year of university, with a peach of a soundtrack.
Explosions in The Sky – Your Hand In Mine
I had a mental guitar teacher when I was younger; he was all about the jazz, which I’d been playing since I was about 8 years old. By the time I was 14 I was growing a bit tired of it. This was the first song I learned start to finish that wasn’t a Jazz Standard. It is really good and has normal time signatures.
If this was a food guide, I’d tell you to enjoy this song with a right good Whisky. Alone.
David Bowie – Let’s Dance
No explanation needed. Gonnae dance wi’ me Bowie?
Death Cab For Cutie – What Sarah Said
This was such a tough one, and a toss up between this and absolutely every song from Transatlanticism. Death Cab For Cutie are by far my favourite band on the planet, and Ben Gibbard continues to amaze me with everything he writes.
I was listening to ‘Plans’ a lot just as I was going in to first year at uni – I’d just managed to get myself a white label of it in from Sandy in Love Music that I nearly played until it broke in my grey Honda Civic. My mum took really ill at this time and and this song just totally resonated with me. Main themes of this tune – Hospitals are hardly joyous places to be, and at some point in your life you’re going to lose everyone you love.
Fuck it, I’ll go put Van Morrison back on.